Children are usually more flexible due to their bones being more malleable and soft tissues more stretchy. Flexibility should occur up until 10 years old. However, if you start to notice that this flexibility is not becoming less over the years, then this may indicate that hypermobility is occurring.
What Is Hypermobility?
Hypermobility tends to occur in 10 to 15% of the population and refers to if 4 or more joints exceed their range of motion. This is typically assessed by a health practitioner via a scoring system. Children with hypermobility are often referred to as “double jointed”.
Collagen is an important structure made by the body and found in soft tissue such as ligaments, tendons and joint capsules. In hypermobility, there is weaker collagen production and so this causes less stability around joints.
What Are The Symptoms?
- Joint pain and/or joint swelling, especially in the knees, elbows,ankles, calf and thigh muscles.
- Cramps and night pains
- Frequent falls or trips
- Poor coordination
- Prone to ankle sprains, soft tissue injuries and dislocations of affected joints.
- Impaired joint position sense
- Flat feet.
- Rarer symptoms include:loose skin, increased bruising, thin scars and nerve compression disorders.
Most children become less flexible as they grow older, and their symptoms improve.
What Are The Causes of Hypermobility In Children?
- Hypermobility tends to run in families, but its exact cause is unknown.
- Connective tissue syndromes associated with severe hypermobility, such as Marfan or Ehlers-Danlos and often children with down syndrome are hypermobile.
Podiatry Treatment for Hypermobility In Children?
- Maintaining a good posture while standing and sitting.
- Joint protection techniques, like standing with knees slightly bent and avoiding extremes of range of motion
- Muscle strengthening exercises may help stabilize the joints and prevent injuries and overuse, especially around the ankle joints.
- Avoiding stretching as which is not usually necessary.
- Balancing techniques to help with joint stability.
- Supportive footwear.
- Orthotics to correct flat feet and improve gait.
- Bracing and strapping techniques during sports.
If you child is constantly rolling their ankles and appears “double jointed” or complaining of any of the above symptoms please do not hesitate to have them assessed by one of our expert podiatrist at Well Heeled Podiatry.